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CSU Rams' Niko Medved chalks one up for integrity

Mike Olson Avatar
April 5, 2024

the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
“he is known to be a man of integrity”

When Niko Medved pulled into Fort Collins six years ago to become the head coach of the Colorado State Men’s basketball program, he was fulfilling a wish of sorts, or at least a good and proper what-if.

Five seasons prior, Medved and his wife Erica had loved FoCo so much as to posit a “what if we came back?” kernel of hope when he’d left CSU as one of the most sought-after assistant coaches in the country, taking on his first head coaching job.

So funny how the wheel turns. Niko is a man well sought and thought of again. While his ethic is unquestioned, so are the doggedness of so many others who start from the bottom and never rise to the top. While his intellect is impressive, so are the thought processes of so many others who live their lives in those X’s and O’s. While his acumen is exceptional, finding the right combinations of players and schemes to take an array of talents and styles and still often blend them to success, so are a few other rare birds out there in the coaching field.

But that integrity. Oh, that integrity.

Medved’s integrity is the well that feeds each of the characteristics above, plus his approachability, his likeability, his innate ability as a communicator and understander… a self-described “connector. Medved has all of those things and more welling up from that depth of integrity that feeds him.

It’s what has guided him to return as a head coach to programs that treated him well as an assistant, something that also speaks volumes of the vacuum he left in his absence. It’s what guides him to participate actively in his communities, not only as a public figure, but also just the guy getting more and more popular at the local grocery store. It’s what guides player after player to not only gravitate towards him, but be ready to run through a wall for him under his tutelage.

So when the ten members of the voting committee for the Skip Prosser Award started looking nationally for coaches who “not only achieve success on the basketball court but who display moral integrity on and off it as well”, Medved was an obvious choice for their short list of finalists. When all was said and done, he was also the obvious choice when he was announced on Thursday as the award’s recipient. Humbling for the man himself:

Integrity falls out of the Latin “integer”, meaning “whole” or “complete”. Some of the other terms that bandy about that same space are on the nose as well… “Integral” and “integrated” also all sum up a big part of what Niko Medved has meant to the success of the CSU Men’s Basketball program, not only in this stay, but when he was here under Tim Miles and Larry Eustachy. The better part of of the last 17 years of Rams basketball has Medved’s fingerprints on it, and in every way, the program is richer for it. Whole. Complete. Integrated. Integral.

Whether he toddles off the court someday with a walker, or moves on next week to another program he feels like he can make some more magic with, Niko will have left CSU in a much better place than he found it, and with only bright prospects surrounding it in the near future. That comes from a guy with character. A guy without a millions miles of ego. A man with integrity.

Congratulations, and well deserved, Niko Medved!


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